Sudden Death

Halo and hype over Jack Buck pierced by the passing of Darryl Kile

So KMOX is stuck with a very occasional Joe Buck, and the son of Jack Carney on late at night. The radio station's links to its storied past and its connections to its aging baby-boomer audience continue to weaken.

The sheer length and circumstance of the coverage increased the odds of media mawkishness. KSDK (Channel 5) sportscaster Mike Bush may be a newsreader on Sunday nights, but his attempt at on-air poetry, however well-meaning, was a bad idea. And how can anyone sound smooth broadcasting a funeral? Charles Brennan and Nan Wyatt of KMOX whispered their commentary on Friday at the church as if they were doing a pro-bowlers' tour.

"Well, they say there is such a thing as a St. Louis curtain, which usually means that events start at about five or ten minutes late at the Muny and the Fox," whispered Brennan, "but I'm not expecting we're going to be much behind schedule here."

Even in the midst of the media canonization of Buck, at least one doubting Thomas called Short Cutsto lodge a mild, anonymous grievance:

"Yeah, he was an excellent announcer, but we're connecting the joy we felt about how the Cardinals played with Jack Buck. We have to realize he was just a man announcing it; he was the conduit for something that was already in existence. He wasn't hitting the home runs or winning the games. He's getting credit for stuff he just announced."

No, he didn't create something from nothing. Unlike Kile, he never pitched a no-hitter or was handed the ball when his team needed a win. He came to St. Louis, he made people here feel better, and now he's gone.

Jack Buck has left the stadium.

It's just hard for some people to believe it.

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